INT. MIRA’S COTTAGE - DAY
Mira sits Dominik down on the floor, gives him small WOODEN CUBES to play with. She goes to the corner, to a utilitarian CHEST, dusty, rarely opened.
Mira removes moth-eaten blankets, tattered clothes - mostly just rags. At the bottom of the chest, TREASURES. A leather-bound book. An embroidered sampler, her name at the bottom.
A delicate gold chain, bearing a RUBY PENDANT.
I used to have many.
Where’d they go?
I gave them up when I married your father.
Be a good boy, and I will give this to
you when you are grown, to give to your bride.
Mira puts the book and embroidery back into the chest, stuffs the clothes and blankets back on top.
The horses are just outside.
Mira picks Dominik up, goes to the door. Heavy human footsteps come her way. At the last second, she sees the necklace still around Dominik’s neck - she TUCKS it under his shirt.
The door is wrenched open from the outside.
Who are you to enter another’s home
Count Bathory requests the pleasure
of your company at his table tonight.
INT. CARRIAGE - EVENING
Mira watches out the window as the village disappears behind her. As the carriage begins to climb the mountain pass up to the castle, the SNOW underneath the wheels disappears.
Not as though it’s been cleared. As though it were never there in the first place.
Mira turns away from the window. Realizes Karoly just STARES at her, smiling. Mira finally tears her eyes away from him.
She looks out the other window. The sun sets behind the mountains, the sky stained red. She hugs Dominik close.
EXT. BATHORY CASTLE - NIGHT
The carriage stops. Karoly gets out first, does not offer a hand to Mira to help her down. She makes it without falling, peering up at the castle towering over her. The windows are dark.
The stillness is rent by the HOWL of a WOLF. Another answers. Karoly enjoys watching Mira shudder.
Two hundred years ago, Turkish infidels
tried to seize this castle. They were turned away
not by swords, or by arrows, but by the wolves.
INT. BATHORY CASTLE - ENTRY HALL - CONTINUOUS
A cavernous room, completely EMPTY - not even a doorman. The huge fireplace opposite the doors is unlit.
Mira SHIVERS - the first time she has betrayed any sign of being cold.
INT. CASTLE - CORRIDOR - NIGHT
Mira walks lead, Karoly following. At the end of the corridor, a woman stands. Still. Staring their way. Mira approaches her, feet heavy.
It is the maid Bathory took to his bed. Hollow cheeks, dead eyes. She mutely holds her arms out for Dominik.
Mira turns to Karoly - pleading eyes.
The girl will take the child to Lady Ilka,
who will watch over him this evening.
INT. CASTLE - WASHROOM - NIGHT
Marble and stone, candles giving off cold light. Mira sits knees to chest in a big COPPER TUB. Suds to her chin.
The room is otherwise empty, utterly silent.
Mira closes her eyes, gathers strength.